I usually try to keep posts on my blog fairly light and fun.
But this post won't be one of those light and fun readings. That's my disclaimer so you can leave now if you'd like.
I seldom watch Oprah simply because I'm not home and sitting down at that time of day (and I don't always agree with her). However, today was the re-airing of Oprah's interview with Marie Osmond. I missed it the first time around and really wanted to make time to watch it today.
Click here for clips from Oprah's interview with Marie.
I've been fascinated with Marie Osmond for many years. I absolutely, positively loved her on Dancing with the Stars. I love her smile, her positive outlook, her honesty, her genuine beauty, her talent, her transparency and her sense of humor. I appreciate her honest and public battle with her weight. Despite a very difficult life, she has remained joyful and optimistic.
My heart ached for her when her son, Michael, committed suicide in March, 2010. That's a journey I can't begin to imagine enduring but doing it under the public spotlight would be absolutely unbearable. Marie was incredibly open, honest, vulnerable and raw with Oprah in this first interview following her son's suicide. I boo-hooed through the entire show. In fact, dinner was late getting to the table because I just couldn't pull myself away from the tv. uh oh.
Some of you may know my best friend of many years, Annie, has struggled her entire life with anxiety and depression. She has gone public with her story so that others who have the same struggles will find help and support. We have walked some very long and dark hours together. I couldn't help but think of her and many others who also suffer from the painful grips of depression as I watched Marie today. Chances are, you have friends and loved ones who also struggle with depression. Maybe you fight this difficult fight yourself and have been afraid to ask for help.
Because we need to remove the stigma from depression and help our precious loved ones find reality, I wanted to share a couple of truths I've found over the years. I am NOT an expert and haven't studied any research on depression. I've just been on a journey that has been both heart-breaking and rewarding. If any of this helps someone else, to God be the glory.
Always, always, always remember that the person you are talking to each day has her own issues with which she is dealing. This goes for anyone and everyone. She may be smiling or crying or anything in between. Be kind. You don't know what she's dealing with. Extend grace and reserve judgment. Love with no regrets.
It seems like a common "cover up" for depression is humor. Please don't assume that someone who always seems to be happy and funny is truly joyful and content. Dig a little deeper to see what's really going on in someone's life. Listen with your ears, your eyes and your heart. Listen more than you speak. (God gave you two ears and only one mouth!) Offer advice only if it's requested. Sometimes we just need to talk about things to find the true reality. Remember, just listening may save someone else's life.
Remember the wise words of Solomon from Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death." Choose your words carefully...especially if you have to reveal a truth that someone doesn't want to recognize. Wouldn't you much rather deliver life than death to your loved ones?
I admit, I'm not perfect and I really don't know anything the next girl doesn't know. I haven't perfected this "friend thang" but I have gained a lot of wisdom through experiences. One thing I know for sure, investing in the life of another has huge payoffs. You might even save a life.
(this pic was taken on Mother's Day, 2008 - our 2nd sermon we delivered together (ignore the speaker in the background:))